Police officers involved in the death of African-American George Floyd will appear Monday in Minneapolis court for the first substantive hearing on the murder that reopened racial injuries in the United States.
The ex-white agent Derek Chauvin, 44, will appear from 5:00 pm via videoconference from the high-security prison where he is being held.
Chauvin is charged with murder for suffocating Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes.
Accused of complicity in the murder, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao are expected to appear in person at the hearing. The first two were released on bail of $ 750,000.
The four, who faces up to 40 years in prison, could use the hearing to plead guilty or not. It remains to be seen whether they will be tried together or separately.
The four were involved in the arrest on May 25 of Floyd, suspected of trying to buy a pack of cigarettes with a fake $ 20 bill at a small store in Minneapolis, in the northern United States.
Floyd, a stout 46-year-old man, was handcuffed and lying on the ground, where Chauvin put his knee around his neck to keep him still.
“I can’t breathe,” Floyd said several times before passing out. But despite his pleas and the interventions of passers-by, Chauvin continued to put pressure on Floyd’s neck.
The drama, whose images captured by a passerby went viral, sparked an unprecedented wave of protests since the great civil rights marches of the 1960s, which even transcended US borders.
Dismantle the police
Anger on the streets grew rapidly because the justice system was slow to react at first. Police immediately fired the four men, but the local prosecutor in charge of the case only arrested Chauvin four days after the events and charged him only with “involuntary manslaughter,” without prosecuting his colleagues.
The case was withdrawn to the local prosecution and went directly to the Minnesota state attorney. Later, an autopsy confirmed that Floyd had died due to “the pressure on his neck” and the charges against Chauvin were reclassified as “murder.” The other three police officers involved were arrested and charged with “complicity”.
But while this was a relief to Floyd’s family, protests continued across the United States.
Calls to reform the police, to end inequality between black and white citizens, and to embrace the country’s racist and slavery past were mixed at the marches.
This pressure has already borne its first fruits: several police departments in the country have renounced the “stranglehold keys”, others have pledged to make public the responsibilities of their agents or to exclude powerful unions from disciplinary proceedings. The Minneapolis City Council even decided to dismantle its police to reinvent the way the law is applied.
But at the federal level, progress has been timider. Republican President Donald Trump, who is campaigning for his reelection in November, has focused on the excesses committed on the margins of the demonstrations, presenting himself as a guarantor of “law and order.”